The Ensemble Theatre to Present Regional Premiere of THE GREEN BOOK
The Ensemble Theatre presents the regional premiere of The Green Book, written by award-winning author Calvin Alexander Ramsey and directed by award-winning director Shirley Jo Finney with Opening Night and Media Reception Thursday, November 14, 2019, 6:30 p.m. 3535 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002.
"I think its important for this generation and future generations to know how people work together," says Ramsey. "The Green Book would not have been successful if it weren't for a lot of people working together for the common good."
Ramsey, an award-winning children's picture book author, photographer, and painter has launched The Green Book as his first work as a playwright. His research on Victor Green's The Negro Motorist Green Book included personal narratives from elderly African Americans recalling their emotions and fear of peril while traveling during the Jim Crow era. They relied on The Green Book for survival in a time where making the wrong stop could be a matter of life or death.
"I am excited to be part of the telling of this story about the legacy of our resilience as a people," says Jo Finney. "We witness the joys and fears a family during this critical time in history when people opened their homes and places of business to strangers out of necessity and for survival."
The story takes place during a weekend when the Davis' are celebrating the arrival of Dr. W. E. B. DuBois for a lecture. The appearance of a white visitor, who turns out to be a Jewish Holocaust survivor, sets off a chain of events that shows that racism and anti-Semitism cannot be ignored. This play integrates historical context of The Negro Motorist Green Book as it investigates the impact of Civil Rights on contemporary American issues.
Featured cast members include: Timothy Eric (DAN DAVIS); Rachel Hemphill Dickson (Barbara Davis); Christian Simon (NEENA Molly Davis); Kendrick 'Kay B' Brown (CPT. George Smith); Brianna Odo-Boms (JACQUELINE SMITH); Jarred Tettey (KEITH CHENAULT); and John Stevens (JACOB LEVINSKY)
Previews: January 18, 19, 22
Show Runs: January 23 - February 23, 2020
Performance Days and Times: Thursdays: 7:30 p.m; Fridays: 8:00 p.m;
Saturdays: 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m; and Sundays: 3:00 p.m.
Tickets Available Online: www.EnsembleHouston.com
For Information Call: 713-520-0055
Ticket Prices: $26- $57
Special Pricing: Group Rates and Weekday Matinees for Schools Available
Opening Night and Media Reception, Thursday, January 23, 2020, 6:30 p.m.
The Negro Motorist Green Book was developed by Victor and Alma Green and published 1936-1967. The Green book was a directory of services for African Americans traveling during the Jim Crow era that included lodging, restaurants, medical care, and gas stations. Travelers were able to use the guide to avoid the dangers of violence in the segregated South. The Green Book was distributed nationally and was supported by ExxonMobil predecessor Standard Oil through their chain of Esso retail stations which welcomed African American travelers.
About the Playwright
Calvin Alexander Ramsey is a man of numerous talents. Not only does he write award winning picture books for children, he is a photographer, a folk-art painter, and a playwright. His first picture book, Ruth and the Green Book tells the story of an African American family as they travel across a "Jim Crow" United States. His research led him to also developing is first play The Green Book, inspired by Victor Green's The Negro Motorist Green Book.
Ramsey has continued playwriting and has toured several award-winning plays across the country to Washington, D.C., Atlanta; Omaha, Nebraska; San Francisco; and Alaska. Although he currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, he has called many cities home including: Martha's Vineyard; New York City; Santa Monica, California; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Croix and St. John.
Currently, Ramsey is co-producing a documentary film with Becky Wible Searles entitled The Green Book Chronicles featuring interviews, historic locations and photos, along with mixed media animation focused on Victor and Alma Green's travel guide. www.greenbookchronicles.com/
About the Director
Shirley Jo Finney is an award-winning international stage, film, and television director and actress.
Finney is an alumnus of the American Film Institute's Director Workshop for Women and holds an MFA degree from UCLA. She is also a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, the Director's Guild, and the Screen Actor's Guild. She has also been an Artist in Residence at several colleges and universities including Columbia College in Chicago, UCSB, USC and UCLA.
She has worn her director's hat in some of the most respected regional theater houses across the country: including The McCarter Theater, The Pasadena Playhouse, The Goodman Theater, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Cleveland Playhouse, the Fountain Theater, LA Theater Works, the Crossroads Theater Company, Actors Theater of Louisville Humana Festival, the Sundance Theater Workshop, The Mark Taper Forum , Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the State Theater in Pretoria, South Africa.
Miss Finney has received many prestigious awards over the years for her special talent and eye for storytelling and for creating exciting ensembles. Her awards include the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award, The Los Angeles Drama Critics Award, LA Weekly Award, The NAACP and the Santa
Barbara Independent awards for her directing work. Miss Finney also helmed the acclaimed International all South African Opera entitled "Winnie" based on the life of political icon Winnie Mandela.
She directed several episodes of UPN sitcom "Moesha" and garnered the International film award for her short film "Remember Me". Finney is best known for her portrayal in the historic title role of Wilma Rudolph, the first female 3-time gold medalist in the made-for-TV bio picture "Wilma".
The Ensemble Theatre's 2019-2020 Season is sponsored in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. United Airlines is the official airline sponsor for The Ensemble Theatre. The Green Book is generously supported in part by ExxonMobil and the Anti-Defamation League.
The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins to preserve African American artistic expression and enlighten, entertain and enrich a diverse community. It is the oldest and largest professional African American theatre in the Southwest, it also holds the distinction of being one of the nation's largest African American theatres that owns and operates its facility with an in-house production team.
The Ensemble Theatre produces a main stage season of six contemporary and classic works devoted to the portrayal of the African American experience by local and national playwrights and artists. The theatre's Performing Arts Education program provides educational workshops, Artist-in-Residence experiences and live performances for students both off-site and at the Theatre. The Young Performers Program offers intensive summer training for children ages 6 to 17 encompassing instruction in all disciplines of the theatre arts.